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Dataset Criminal Career Life-course Study available

The NSCR has available several large-scale, longitudinal data sets that external researchers may, under certain conditions, use to their scientific research. To those datasets is now added the Criminal Career and Life Course Studies (CCLS). The CCLS concerns a long-term longitudinal study into the development of criminal behavior of a group of over 4,500 people who had a criminal case adjudicated by a Dutch judge or public prosecutor in the late seventies. The CCLS offers a unique combination of register data, life-event-calendar information and in-depth interviews, by which a complete picture is obtained of the life of the sampled individuals, their spouses and their children. In a recent review of criminal career studies, the CCLS was mentioned as ‘one of the ten major datasets in present day life-course criminological research’.

The CCLS began in 2000. The study’s objective was to describe the developmental course of long term patterns of criminal behavior of individuals who came into contact with the criminal justice system. Also, researchers wanted to explain this development within the context of important events and transitions in the life-courses of people, such as marriage, divorce and having children. To this end, conviction data were linked to data from the Municipal Administration (GBA). At a later stage, similar data were obtained for all registered marriage partners and all registered children of the original sample. Judicial data and GBA data were last updated in 2015.

Between January 2013 and December 2014 face-to-face interviews were conducted with a portion of the sample. During these interviews an electronic life event calender was used to gather information on events and transitions in life-course for which no register data were available, such as cohabitation, drug use and health problems. With a subsample of the interviewees an additional in-depth interview was conducted in which the individual’s own view of his/her criminal behavior and its perceived ramifications in the individual’s life-course were central.

The data collection for the CCLS was partly made possible by a Veni grant and a NWO medium grant. So far three dissertations and numerous articles and book chapters based on the CCLS-data set were published dealing with, among other things, specialization in criminal careers, the impact of marriage and having children in desistance from offending, the intergenerational transmission of crime and the intended and unintended effects of criminal justice interventions.

The CCLS provides ample opportunities for empirical and theoretical innovative research. Data gathered on the current (mental) health status and social embeddedness of the sample, their self-reported criminal behavior and  their contacts with their (grand) children have not been analyzed yet.

Besides the above mentioned data for the sample of ex-offenders, their partners and children, comparable data are available for a control group of people who did not come into contact with the criminal justice system in the late seventies.

Researchers who are interested to work with these data, are invited to submit a proposal. For more information, see the Datasets page on the NSCR website.

Credits picture: Shutterstock

prof. dr. Arjan Blokland

About prof. dr. Arjan Blokland


Arjan Blokland worked as a police officer with the Rotterdam-Rijnmond police force until 1996. He studied Criminal Law and Social Psychology at the University of Utrecht. In 2005 he received his PhD (with honours) from Leiden University for a dissertation on the criminal careers of a cohort of offenders convicted in 1977.

Since 2005 he is a (senior)researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR). In 2006 he was awarded a VENI-grant for his work on the development of criminal behaviour over the life course. In 2010 he also received an Investment Subsidy NWO Medium. As of September 2010, he holds a chair as professor in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the Law Faculty of Leiden University. His research focuses on developmental and life course criminology, (juvenile) sexoffenders and the effects of criminal justice interventions.

Arjan is a member of the Life-course Cluster, the Intergenerational Cluster and the Sanctions Cluster.

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